Just where did 2015 go?

For mStoner, 2015 was dynamic. It was the year that brought a lot of changes, some really exciting new clients and diverse projects, plus some new team members. We accomplished a great deal in the past year and, by expanding our staff, we’re beginning 2016 stronger than ever.

Here are some highlights from 2015, focused on some of the research and other insights we published during the year. Tomorrow, I’ll report on some projects we worked on and share some news about staffing and other changes at mStoner.

We published a new book and several major white papers based on original research in 2015. And our Higher Ed Live network continued to provide valuable insights into some of the major trends and challenges facing professionals in higher education.


  • With our partners at CASE and Huron Education, we conducted our sixth survey of Social Media and Advancement and released the white paper in November. Its title — “Refining, Prioritizing, Expanding: Social Media and Advancement in 2015” — provides a good sense of this year’s findings. The editors of eCampusNews selected it as a story they “… believe either highlighted an important issue in 2015 and/or signaled the beginning of an escalating trend or issue for 2016.”
  • This year, we launched a new research series in partnership with Chegg. In our first study together, we compared what admissions professionals know about how prospective teens conduct their college search — what sources of information they use, how they use various devices, and more. Articles about the white paper reporting on this research, “Mythbusting Admissions: Where Prospects and Professionals Agree, and Disagree, on Enrollment Marketing, Messaging, and Channels” appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education and elsewhere.
  • Finally, we published a white paper reporting on research we conducted about the degree to which colleges and universities have developed and implemented formal, research-based brand strategies.

Publishing and Blogging

  • #FollowtheLeader: Lessons in Social Media Success from #HigherEd CEOs, written by Dan Zaointz, appeared in February. It’s the first (and so far, only) book to offer guidance to college and university CEOs about how to be successful in using social media. To write the book, Dan conducted interviews with 24 American and Canadian presidents, as well as additional research. It’s been well reviewed and was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • It was a record-breaking year of growth for Higher Ed Live. We kicked off 2015 with a relaunch of The redesign provides a more engaging user experience for live viewers and those who want to access archived content and the new, improved blog. And we saw explosive growth in viewership, newsletter subscribers, and partnerships. We now have more than 14,000 followers on Twitter, and our average unique web traffic more than doubled. We welcomed new partnerships with ACPA and ExpertFile. And last, but certainly not least, we welcomed new hosts and producers, including Kim Brown of Syracuse University and Erin Supinka of Dartmouth University.
  • We released two resources that are important for marketing professionals on campuses with upcoming website redesigns. The “Website Redesign Checklist” helps institutions get their project started on the right path. “Six Principles of Information Architecture” covers IA best practices and shares best-in-class examples.
  • We launched a new blog on Inside Higher Ed’s blog network. Call To Action focuses on higher ed marketing and communications, and we’re producing it in partnership with TVP Communications. Two important goals for the blog are to surface key issues for campus marketers and communicators and to involve as many voices as we can from across the profession. Thus far, about 25 people have contributed posts.

In tomorrow’s post, I report on some of the projects we took on and launched this year, as well as new team members who bring some exciting skills to mStoner!


Michael Stoner

AUTHOR - Michael Stoner

Was I born a skeptic or did I become one as I watched the hypestorm gather during the dotcom years, recede, and congeal once more as we come to terms with our online, social, mobile world? Whatever. I'm not much interested in cutting edge but what actually works for real people in the real world. Does that make me a bad person? Find me on

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